Major: Business Administration
Hometown: East Granby, Connecticut
Study Abroad Program: Chinese University of Hong Kong - Summer
I began my trip to Hong Kong by heading to Burger King as soon as I had collected my baggage. Yes, I was all about immediate immersion… Hong Kong was going to be a difficult transition for me: I had never been to Asia before, never mind for almost two months. But I had a strong desire to learn more about Asia and an incredible program to look forward to.
I studied at the International Summer School at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The campus beautiful – situated on top of a hill, there were magnificent views everywhere, including out of my dorm window.
The main part of my summer experience was learning about the Asian financial system through two means: the classroom and my environment. I took two classes while I was there, international economics and Asian business and management. By taking the classes, I was able to gain a strong background in the history of Asian economics and business and useful tips on how Asian business is conducted. For instance, I didn’t know that it is extremely rude to put a business card directly into your pocket while in Asia, you’re supposed to study it right away and preferably make a remark about the person’s position.
I don\'t think I could have picked a better place to study as a business and economics major.
After figuring out the extensive and remarkably efficient subway system, I descended upon downtown (fairly often). The skyscrapers never seem to end; there is an amazing skyline on both sides of Hong Kong Harbor. If you have thought that you’ve seen a lot of people in one place, you need to take a trip to Hong Kong. I can’t remember a time that I was downtown and not being pushed on the sidewalk or squeezed onto the subway. They say New York never sleeps, well neither does Hong Kong. The energy is astounding – couples and their babies ride the subway at midnight.
What did I enjoy most about my study abroad experience? The fact that there was never a dull moment and a surprise around every corner. When I first left New York, I thought that Hong Kong was only a busy metropolis. That the residents never left the air conditioning and that I would be able to speak English to whomever I met. Well those preconceptions were all wrong, well at least the latter (one of the many great features of downtown Hong Kong is that there is almost always an air conditioned passage to where you want to go). What I found outside of downtown Hong Kong is what truly made an impression on me. Hong Kong is over 40% nature preserve, and there are trails that go through a lot of that. One day I ventured out with my roommate and began hiking on the Machelose trail. What we found at the end of the trail was paradise. An almost deserted beach that was only accessible by boat or hiking about four miles. This is what I didn’t expect to see in Hong Kong.
My experience in Asia will be one of my most treasured memories. The Phillips Ambassadors scholarship granted me the opportunity to explore a culture I had never experienced before. It allowed me the opportunity to gain insight into possibly one of the most important markets in the world. This is an experience I will never forget and couldn’t be more thankful to have.